Every map is unique, but most have at least 5 main materials in common. From the title to the compass rose, each part tells girlfriend something around how to check out the map. Find out what each map part is and what it way so you can uncover your way.




You are watching: What are the five basic elements of a map

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2. Map crucial or Legend

All the map icons are identified in the map key, or map legend. The terms “key” and also “legend” are regularly used interchangeably, but some maps have both a key and a legend. In these instances, the an essential includes the signs while the legend contains things choose the scale and compass rose.

The icons on a map do it less complicated to read because the map is no crowded through words. The crucial is usually off to the next of the map and tells friend what each symbol stand for.

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3. Scale Indicator

Maps space usually lot smaller than the actual areas they show, so the distance on a map is likewise much smaller than the actual street of the locations. The scale indicator, or scale, tells you exactly how a unit of measure on the map relates to units of measure up in genuine life.

A scale often looks prefer a bar or line through numbers same spaced out. It will certainly tell friend what distance on the map amounts to what street in reality. Because that example, one centimeter top top the map might equal one mile in the genuine world. You may need come know common measurement abbreviations to read the scale.

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4. Grid

A map’s grid is a collection of imagine horizontal and also vertical lines attracted onto the map. This lines might represent actual latitudes and also longitudes or they might just break-up the map right into smaller parts. Network lines will certainly be labeled at one finish or each end.

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5. Compass increased or phibìc Arrow

The orientation that a map is crucial to know, so a tool that mirrors you the cardinal directions, or at the very least which way is north, is consisted of on most maps. You might see an arrow labeled “N” for north, or you might see a compass rose. A compass rose looks favor a large star and also shows north, south, east, and west.

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Other usual Parts the a Map

Because each map is unique, it’s hard to determine the basic parts that show up on every solitary map. You may see examples of the three main parts of a map or even five, six, or eight main materials of a map.

Additional typical map components include:

border or neatline - a thick line showing where the map stopsmap credits - information about who made the map, when it to be made or the data was used to do itlocator map or inset - a zoomed in or zoomed out watch of an area represented on the map

The making of a Map

Learning the basic elements of a map helps you check out existing maps and create your very own maps. Whether you’re producing a fantasy map for the fictional human being you produced or reading a map ~ above a trip, expertise these map parts will take it you to exceptional places. If you gain learning about mapping, friend might likewise like to explore the 5 themes of geography.